The House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act late Wednesday night, which included 10 provisions from the American Space Renaissance Act, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), the sponsor of the space bill, said Thursday in Washington, D.C. The wide-ranging space legislation takes a holistic view of the space enterprise, concentrating on three lines of effort: to build more resilient architectures, to integrate the enterprise, and to leverage commercial capabilities, Bridenstine said. Provisions from the bill incorporated into the NDAA include fully funding the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center, funding the Space and Missile Systems Center SATCOM Pathfinder program, funding the Protected Tactical Service SATCOM program, requiring a briefing on the costs and benefits of using commercial facilities and operations for the Air Force Satellite Control Network, and authorizing $3 million to buy and evaluate commercial weather data. Bridenstine said he is particularly concerned with weather forecasting and data because of the prevalence of severe weather in his home state. Bridenstine’s goal in proposing the legislation was not to pass a comprehensive bill immediately, he said, but rather “to put together the best components of space reform that are needed across the enterprise.” The bill has “proven to be an effective tool,” he said. “We are accomplishing objectives that are important for national security space.” Still, he said, there are many important provisions that have not yet passed.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.